Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Collateral Damage From Schiavo

Yesterday, the Eighth Circuit, in a two-paragraph published per curiam opinion, held that "a lawsuit under the Rehab Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cannot be based on medical treatment decisions." The court provided no analysis for that conclusion, simply cites to two cases -- one of which was the Eleventh Circuit's decision in the Theresa Schiavo case.

The notion that the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA simply don't apply to medical treatment decisions is one that never made sense, and one that certainly doesn't make sense after the Supreme Court's decisions in Yeskey and Olmstead. The Schiavo case's slapdash treatment of the issue -- relying on pre-Yeskey and Olmstead lower-court cases to hold that the statutes have no application to medical treatment decisions -- may end up doing real damage to disability rights claims.


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